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Watson, Power Play Help Lead Preds to Win Over Blackhawks

Nashville Collects 10th Home Win of Season, Now Has Points in 11 of 12

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Roman Josi scored the game-winner on the power play and the Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a 3-2 final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. It's Nashville's second win in three tries against the Hawks this season, giving them points in 11 of their last 12 games overall and their 10th victory in the month of November.

As is usually the case, the Preds and Hawks put on a show for a national television audience, combining for 70 shots on goal in a game that had a little bit of everything. Add the home crowd into the equation, which reached postseason levels in the dying minutes of regulation, and the victory seemed to carry a little extra as the horn sounded.

"We've created a rivalry over the years," Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "[The win] means a lot - not only in the locker room, but in the standings as well. It's a huge win."

"I haven't heard that building that loud since playoffs last year," Nashville center Ryan Johansen said. "It was a great atmosphere to play in and it was a huge win."

It took less than four minutes into the contest for Filip Forsberg to pot his team-leading 12th goal of the season to cap off a masterful shift with passes from his linemates, Viktor Arvidsson and Johansen. Chicago quickly tied it with a goal from Tommy Wingels, a score that held into the first intermission.

Video: CHI@NSH: Forsberg collects his own rebound, buries it

A Matt Irwin point shot was redirected into the cage by Austin Watson at 3:48 of the second stanza to give the Preds a lead once more, and then Josi extended the advantage with a power-play blast in the third period to give Nashville their third tally of the night.

The Blackhawks made it a one-goal game again halfway through the final period, but Rinne made a number of saves down the stretch - 37 on the night in total - and Watson came up large by blocking a last-second shot to seal the win.

"Everybody loves playing Chicago; they're a good rival for us," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "They're a good hockey team. They just keep coming. They have a lot of skill and our guys are always excited to play them. It was a good game."

Video: CHI@NSH: Josi blasts one past Forsberg for PPG

Man-Advantage Record Equaled:

The Predators have played 11 home games to date in the 2017-18 campaign, and they've converted on the power play in every single one.

Roman Josi's marker in the third period came with the man advantage, tying a franchise record for consecutive home games with a power-play goal. The mark of 11 games equals the stretch attained from Nov. 16 to Dec. 26, 2006.

The home cooking is working, and it's a large reason why the Preds have won 10 contests within the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena this season.

"[The power-play success is] a huge factor," Josi said. "It changes games and is very important. We got another important power-play goal tonight, and they didn't get one and that was the difference."

"I think we're just trying to keep it simple," Forsberg said of the power play. "We're just shooting. We had some good looks before Josi scored that goal and that was a great shot. I think that is the biggest thing."

Video: CHI@NSH: Watson redirects Irwin's slap shot

Whatever It Takes:

One goal, five hits, three blocked shots - the latter two categories leading the team - sounds like a typical night for Austin Watson.

The body checks and stepping in front of howitzers from the opposition is to be expected, but whenever the rugged winger can chip in on the scoresheet, it's an added bonus. And it's those aforementioned elements that proved to be just as important as his deflection tally.

"That was awesome," Laviolette said of Watson's late-game shot blocks. "He's a guy that the puck always seems to find. He has a lot to do with that. There's an art to what he does, and it was on full display at the end of the game."

"It feels good to do both," Watson said. "Especially late in the game, it is five guys and the goalie trying to do whatever we can to keep the puck from getting in front of the net… It's a team effort and everybody has a good time doing it when we get the job done."

Video: Rinne, Predators edge Blackhawks, 3-2

Notes:

Nashville boasts a home record of 10-1-1 this season, one of just three NHL teams to have one or fewer home losses this season.

Nashville continues their four-game home stand on Thursday when the Vancouver Canucks come to town, followed by meetings with Anaheim on Saturday and Boston on Monday.

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